Saturday, March 24, 2012

Luigi's mucatel lexias

So late in the season it all starts to get a little rotty and oversweet. And so these bunches are a little past it

Do the "where's Wally" and try to find the bee, picking up a little random sweetness.

But for a person pottering around a garden, those remaining berries are simply gifts from god. Tiny bundles of sugar. And, so I'm told, when they shrivel they're know as lexias. One for this of us who remember the cask wine label "fruity lexia".

Oh, apparently it still exists

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5kg of fruit, time for chutney

It's a bizarre time with this Tamarillo. These fruit sell for $1.70 each in Coles.

I have so much, on a rambling tree that I've taken 5kg off, left 10kg on and thrown out 2kg of green fruit with the prunings.

But I'll let the fruit after-ripen. They're great as breakfast fruit. But with this much, it's chutney time.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Leeks this year

Here's how I'll grow leeks. I've excavated a garden bed about ten inches deep, primed it with gypsum and superphosphate, and as the seedlings grow upwards I'll raise the soil level. Nice white stems and leeks are often $2 each in the shops, so they're a useful crop.

But they do take up to sixteen weeks to mature. Still, veggies are scarce in mid winter and leeks make great winter cookups.

Seedlings already raised are about 60c to 80c each, but with a little patience it looks like I might get 30 or 40 seedlings for about $3.00 - the price of a packet of seeds.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Beautiful little plant headed for the scrap heap

I pulled a little seedling out of another pot and put it into its own little pot. At the time I thought it was a mulberry, because I've had at least one of those pop up recently.

But unfortunately (for the plant) it appears to be a fig tree.

Unless you like the idea of a three year gamble with a bastard plant, don't plant out seedling figs. The stories I hear are consistently ones of huge, rambly trees (as figs always are) with fruit that stay as little marbles and never ripen.

But perhaps one in a thousand you might get the biggest, juiciest, sweetest fig. You could register it for plant breeder's rights and maybe make some money.

But for me, this little plant above is off to the green waste bin, or the compost heap.

If you want a good fig, find a tree that has great fruit and put some sticks from it into some soil. Perhaps in late winter.

To be honest, the winter thing doesn't even matter that much. This last two pots have about 15 plants that have taken off from cuttings I did about six weeks ago.

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Note to self: Prune this

Late in summer one gets to see the price one pays for being "soft hearted" at pruning time, in the middle of winter. Fair enough I left this limb on because I'd gone so hard on the resto of the tree last year.

But this winter that whole limb off to the right - its coming off. It will be 2013 firewood. Simple as that. The only tree I didn't plant on this whole block is the fig tree behind me and I'll cut any of them how I like.

All for the good of the garden.

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My propagating box

Sylv and Edan had finished with this funny little wardrobe. I've been toying with turning it into a propagating box. So I took most of the panels off, got some acrylic diffuser plastic I'd pulled off the kids windows and I'll use that as the roof.

I'll staple some poly up against the sides and put some foil on the inside panels. This should keep that 30 or so chilli plants running through winter, and help me get an early start to next season's tomatoes. Yay.

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sometimes "bastard" seedlings work

Of the 12 plants I got from my father in law the three I put in a huge pot, against a western facing wall (extended warmth at night), managed the shade, watered with rainwater and heavily fertilised with potash. Well it worked.

And the payback is these fantastic scarlet tomatoes that are just sitting forever on the vine, begging me to pick them.

So sometimes a gamble is fun.

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